Make a Free Self-Watering Seed Starter

  • 01 of 06

    What You Need

    container gardening picture of pie container for free seed starter for container gardens
    Empty Pie Container With Clear Lid. Photo © Kerry Michaels
    • One empty, plastic pie container with clear top
    • Container or bowl that pie container can sit on top of
    • Sharp scissors
    • Cooking twine or string
    • Seed starting mix
    • Seeds
    • A large bowl or small bucket
    • Watering can with rose attachment
    • Spray bottle
    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    Adding Wicks

    container gardening picture of of pie container with strings for seed starting for container gardens
    Strings For Wicking Water. Photo © Kerry Michaels
    • Take a sharp scissors and poke several large-ish holes in the bottom of your plastic pie container.
    • Cut as many 2-foot lengths of string as you have holes.
    • Poke string through holes and pull about 8 inches of string through the bottom of the pie container. Leave strings dangling.
    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Add Soil

    container gardening picture of DIY container gardening seed starter
    Add Soil on Top Of String Pile. Photo © Kerry Michaels
    • Spread out excess string on the bottom of the pie container. It will look like a pile of spaghetti.
    • In a bowl or bucket, mix your seed-starting medium with water until soil is moist, not wet.
    • Fill pie container with damp seed starting mix, until it is about ½ an inch from the top. It will go right on top of the string pile
    • Gently flatten and pat down the soil
    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Planting Seeds in Self-Water Seed Starter

    container gardening picture of seed packet for container gardens
    Read Seed Packet Carefully. Photo © Kerry Michaels
    • Follow the directions on the back of your seed package carefully. Do not plant seeds deeper than is recommended.
    • Gently pat the soil on top of seeds.
    • Replace plastic cover over pie container
    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Fill Container With Warm Water

    container gardening picture of
    Set Strings In Water. Photo © Kerry Michaels
    • Fill the bottom container or bowl with warm water, and set the container with your seeds on top of it, so that the strings, hanging down are sitting in the water. That way they will wick up water into your soil, keeping it moist, not wet. You don't want the seed container itself sitting in the water.
    • Check every day to make sure bottom is filled with water.
    • If soil feels dry use a spray bottle to mist until soil is moist.
    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    Seed Starting Hints

    container gardening picture of lable for seed starting container garden seeds
    Don't Forget To Label. Photo © Kerry Michaels

    Hints For Seed Starting:

    • Make sure to label your seeds
    • Place seeds in a warm spot until after they have germinated
    • Remove clear plastic cover after seeds have germinated
    • Keep bottom filled with water -do not let soil dry out
    • Make sure seeds get enough light after germination

    For more seed starting information:

    Six Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start Container Garden Seeds Indoors

    11 Common Seed Starting Mistakes And How To Avoid Them